University of Toulouse – Capitole How does the workload in your classes compare to Strathclyde. Harder 2 x Easier Is there anything that you wished that you knew about the classes before you went? There's a law school policy that says we cant study a subject in France that we have studied already in Scotland. We weren't made aware of this until wed already started our classes. The lecture halls are so warm it's disgusting - wear layers or you'll pass out/die! TDs - they are not compulsory! I'd recommend avoiding them as they tend to be heavier on the workload. You can find class pages on Facebook where French students post notes for each other! There is one for each group within each year group - in Toulouse they split each year group into like 4 different groups depending on surname but as an Erasmus student you can pick any classes, no matter which group or year they're from - (search for example UT1 - L1 droit groupe 4) You don't necessarily have to do tutorials- make sure to find out. If you don't, think about whether you really want to do them! What type of accommodation are you staying in whilst away? Private accommodation What is your monthly cost for accommodation? â‚¬500 350â‚¬ + bills (60â‚¬) Rent is 500 euros. Internet, gas, electricity and insurance maybe make it closer to 575. However, I get 175 refunded per month as CAF Do you have any advice about how looking for accommodation? Is there anything you wished you knew before you left about accommodation? Accommodation is really hard to find in Toulouse. I wish wed had the chance to go to halls as it was much more affordable but as it happened we never found out we were going to Toulouse until after the application deadline for halls. Definitely live with a French person or you will speak very little French. I found my coloc (flatmate) on apartager.fr so would recommend searching on there. You can also search on Facebook for Erasmus groups as people post there all the time looking for flatmates or offering a room. Student accommodation is a good backup to have if you're seriously stuck (you can always apply and then email them after you've got a colocation sorted) but I would not recommend living there - it's ridiculously small (the bed pulls down from the ceiling and sits on top of your desk, the "bathroom" is so tiny that when you sit on the toilet your feet are in the shower, and the "kitchen" consists of a minuscule fridge and stove) and if you're in Rangueil halls (the furthest away of the 3) you are virtually at the end of the metro line - nightmare!! Another thing about France is that if you're not in student halls most estate agents/proprietors/etc want you to have a guarantor. This usually has to be someone living in France, but you can apply to the regional council (Midi-Pyrenees) for them to be your guarantor - just search online and you should find the application forms ok. Other people will accept your parents as guarantors even though they live in Britain. It all depends on the estate agent really. If you can get CROUS, do it. Failing that, don't be fooled by private student residences- the pictures are a lie and you will pay a lot of money for little space in a not very central location! Going private sector is a stressyou won't be able to sort anything out until you arrive, but it pays off. You will need a guarantor, and this can be a bit tricky- make sure to have parents' payslips etc available, and a letter of caution in French too. What is the town/city like where you stay? Toulouse is an amazing city perfect for students, there's always something to do and something going on. It's got a really good vibe to it the people were all really nice and friendly. There are loads of students and a lot of nightlife, which is great. Tons of museums and cinemas too. Excellent icecream as well! Not as picturesque as I'd imagined - it's the kind of place where certain buildings or parks are really beautiful and others not so much. But that's normal for a city. Easy to get from Toulouse to Barcelona (5â‚¬ Megabus!!), to Geneva (cheap Easy Jet flight), to home (Jet2 do direct flights in summer and Flybe takes you to Glasgow/Edinburgh via Birmingham in winter) and pretty much everywhere else in France so great if you want to travel. One thing I would say about the city is that there are quite a few homeless people (generally harmless but just sad to see so many people on the street). There are also a lot of dogs and no one cleans up their poo! As a woman you will also find that men here are creeeeeeppppyyyy. Catcalling appears to be a popular pastime for (mostly) middle aged men. But having spoken to friends staying in Lyon, Montpellier and Anger, I've come to realise that this problem is not exclusive to Toulouse. My advice is to cycle places when you are alone (especially on a night out) as you will avoid the creeps. The vÃ©lo system in Toulouse is excellent! Toulouse is fantastic- the weather is amazing and there's always a lot going on. Where is your favourite place to go? Capitole building - if you go inside and up the stairs into the building there are rooms filled with paintings, i's gorgeous. Also love Esquirol area (great cocktail bar called Moloko, vintage shops and a veggie restaurant called Le Faim des Haricots) Either the pub or Carmes market. How do you find the university facilities (for example, library, labs, campus)? Fine similar to strathclyde Only been to the library once as I like to study from home but it seems pretty good. Lecture halls are so uncomfortable - i wish they'd just invest in air con and decent seats! University facilities are ok- the library is good but always packed. The lecture halls are either too cold or too hot. The campus is really nice and very central. Do you spend more or less money than you expected? 2 x More 1 x Less Are you surprised by the high cost of anything in particular(for example, taxis, cheese, bread, wine)? Taxis are really difficult to come by but when you do get one they're really expensive. Simple things like good shopping was much more expensive than Scotland as was rent etc Taxis are extortionate - no one uses them. I've heard meat is quite expensive but I'm veggie. Other food generally costs about the same as at home. As for drink, beer and wine are super cheap but "alcohol fort" (i.e. spirits), is sooooo pricey in bars and clubs! In a club they'll charge you like 9â‚¬ for a gin and tonic, same for vodka and coke! Toulouse is also devoid of good gin. But you can get a bottle of Absolute vodka in Auchan (gigantic cheap supermarket at Balma Gramont metro stop) for 15â‚¬. Never get a taxi, it's ridiculously expensive. Doing clothes washing is expensive! You won't have a washing machine in your flat (unless you're paying lots or are very very lucky) so budget for the laundrette. It adds up! How much money do you estimate you spend per month (any currency is ok)? At least â‚¬800 It's really hard to estimate. I'd say about 650â‚¬ a month. But most of that is on unnecessary things (food and transport is cheap (metro ticket is 10â‚¬ a month and the vÃ©lo was 20â‚¬ for the year!) - ski trip, travelling, going out. The Christmas market bankrupted me. What I would say is you need a lot of money for the first month or two as you have all your toiletries and bedding and basic food stuff (oil and spices and tinned things and even cups/pots/cutlery if you're in student halls or a studio) to buy. So save up as much as you can before you go! 700-800euros Do you have a good social life? Does the host University offer any particular activities for international students? There was an ESN group at the uni which was great they put on nights out and weekends away. It made it really easy to meet other students and see a bit more of Toulouse and the surrounding towns. Great social life in Toulouse as there are so many Erasmus students and the ESN society is really good at organising trips away and nights out. Other than stuff the ESN society organise the University doesn't offer anything specifically for Erasmus students but I've still been to see orchestra concerts that are open to all students and I'm going on the university ski trip in January which is just another thing they organise generally but there 's a good group of Erasmus students going too. Yes- the best thing has been making friends with local students. Erasmus events have their place, but try to get away from them early on- it's a big business and they're never that fantastic. People at all international type events will usually want to speak English too! Would you recommend this University to future Strathclyde students who are considering studying abroad? If not, please explain your response or contact the Recruitment and International Office to discuss. 2 x Yes Overall I would say yes as the social aspect of the university is great! The lectures I've taken have also been pretty interesting (they have a really wide variety of subjects) and the lecturers are also quite understanding of Erasmus students and have arranged for us to have separate exams from the normal French students. But be prepared at the start for the organisational mess - Toulouse are seriously slow at anything involving organisation. We weren't give access to our online classes until last month. Plus Agnes in the international office is not the most welcoming. I suggest speaking to her student assistants instead of her as they are much nicer and generally seem more clued up on what's actually going on Are you glad you decided to participate in an Erasmus Exchange? Please explain your answer. Erasmus was compulsory for my degree but even if it wasn't I would like to think I would still have taken part. It was the best year of my life and it's increased my life experience massively. As a result of my exchange I'm much more independent, confident and adaptable. I made some amazing friends from all around the world, improved my French language skills and broadened my horizons. Absolutely. I can't stress enough how much it has improved my French! I was so nervous about speaking French before I arrived in France but now I can actually sit and have full conversations in French without feeling completely out of my depth. I've also made a lot of really good friends and have enjoyed the independence of being so far away from home. Yes- you'll never get another chance like it! There are stressful bits, but you will definitely get through it! Is there any additional information/advice you would like to pass on to future students who are considering study abroad at the same institution as you? The international office in Toulouse was extremely unhelpful. So don't expect too much from them. The lady in the office is very unapproachable and unwelcoming. This didn't make a huge impact on my year but it was very discouraging when you were having issues with anything she wasn't very forthcoming with advice or information. I would say just grab every experience you possibly can and make the most of the year. It'll be the fastest year of your life so just enjoy it and appreciate the experience before you stuck back I'm dreary glasgow. Live with a French person. Go out and go on as many trips away as possible. Buy a fan. Do not attempt to swim in the Garonne. Get in touch with people here the year before- they will be able to explain the paperwork that you need to do! Don't worry if you feel like you're spending a lot of money at first, it's normal and it settles down a lot!